Monthly Archives: April 2010

Voices

Jesus said:  «My sheep hear my voice;  I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

As of this writing, my country is hearing a lot of voices. Why? It’s election time.

Different people of different personalities would like to lead the nation. People with different interest and different backgrounds would like to be the shepherd of the country.  They declare they are the voice of God. The proclaim they are the voice of the masses. They claim they are the voice of the poorest of the poor. They campaign they are the voice of the largely populated working class. They present themselves as the voice of the minority which likewise of the majority. The candidates advertise themselves as the voice of a new hope for a new nation. These people inform the people that they are the voice of legacy and democracy. Because we hear a lot of voices, we get confused. We have to sit down and analyze whose voice will get our vote. We have to study whose voice will we follow.

As of this writing, our hearts hear a lot of voices. Why? It’s like that all the time.

Voices which would like to lead our lives. Voices which would like to tend us along a certain path. Voices which would like to shepherd us to a specific direction. Voices which we hear all around us. Media. Internet. Church. Career. Family. Community. Friends. Spouse. Boss. Child. TV preacher. Book author. Economic instability. Wars and terrorism. Calamities around the globe. Fears. Worries. Health issues. We are drowned by these voices. We can get confused. We are being influenced by these voices. At some point, we have to choose which voice will lead us in the way we live our lives. We have to make a decision which voice will shepherd us closer to God. We have to vote a voice which will enable us to follow Jesus, the true Shepherd.

Let me suggest some tests for us to know if we are following the Shepherd’s voice:

  • We follow His voice if we follow Him. Easier said than done. Yet we know His voice prevails in our hearts if we are living according to His ways.
  • We hear His voice if it glorifies God. Our lives should result to magnifying the Shepherd rather than the sheep. It makes known the Shepherd not the sheep.
  • We follow his voice if we get closer to the Shepherd. As the Shepherd leads the flock, He knows the sheep. As the journey continues, the sheep should know the Shepherd.
  • We stick with His voice if we stick with the flock.  No sheep will wander away from the flock if one hears the voice of the Shepherd.  Our Shepherd searches for His lost sheep to bring them back to the flock just in case they follow other voices.

Lots of voices, we hear. Hopefully, His voice will get our vote. Always.

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Bread

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. John 6:35

It’s amazing how they make cakes.

I was watching this television program with my daughters about a reality series on bakers who specialize in making wedding cakes.  They get their cues from the soon to be wed couples regarding their dream wedding cake.  These cake designers would do anything for that dream to become a reality.  Tell them your theme and they would cut out a fit-in cake for that. They would keep your eyes open when you see the creation. They would put color to suit your wedding gown. They would put anything you can come up with the request of the couple. A cake about your love story. A cake about your first meeting. A cake about your engagement moments. A cake about your dream home. A cake about your love song. A cake about your favorite movie. They have what it takes to create your cake for you.

One thing I realized is this. No matter what the design of the cake is.  No matter what the theme of the cake is. No matter what the shape of the cake is. No matter how large or small the cake is. One thing holds the cake together which is always overlooked– The bread.

It’s amazing how we make Christian life like cakes.

We put our own colors. We put our own designs. We put our own shapes. We go to the prayer meeting and expect the worship leader to be lively and energetic. We would like our leader to be a eloquent speaker and preacher. We imagine that each member would perfectly fit in to their commitments. We stop attending his mass when our parish priest becomes politicize. We withdraw our participation when the ministry leader commits a mistake. A life of your own theme. A life about you. A life of your own movie.

Realize this. No matter who the leader is. No matter what the leader’s style is. No matter how inspiring or boring your pastor’s sermon  is. No matter how stouthearted or complacent the members are. No matter how the prayer meeting goes. No matter how lifeless is the ministry is. Someone holds your life together, and please do not overlook Him– Jesus, the bread of life.

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Scattered

Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. Acts 8:4

Scattered people scattered the word.  They were scattered yet they preach the word. They should have lose hope since they were broken up as a group however they were still united. They were dispersed and should have gone into each of their own way however they still walked on the same path.  They had separate ways yet they were still one.  Others went north. Some went south. Few were in the west. Several might be going east. In all these directions, they followed one direction that is to preach the word.

I know a group of people who are in their shoes.

Others are in Singapore. Most of them remained in the Philippines.  A bunch are in the Middle East: Bahrain, Dubai and Saudi.  Some of them are in North America – United States and Canada. Few of them live in Australia. A missionary priest in Indonesia. Scattered to scatter. Distributed to distribute. Spread out to spread. The word.

We might speak different languages now yet we still keep the same tongue – preaching the word. We might be living in different cultures yet we keep the same way of life – preach the word. We might not be attached as much yet we still touch people – preaching the word. In all these directions, we have one direction – preaching the word.

Now, that is God’s plan for His people. Just like seeds in fertile soils. Be scattered. Grow and preach the word.

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Loveable

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. John 3:16

College Classmate: “Bakit ba laging tungkol sa love ang iyong mga tula?”
Edwin: “Kasi loveable ako!”

I admit up to now. Uy, madalang na lang ako magsulat ng poems.

Oh di ba? Lagi nating nababasa yang verse na yan. John 3:16. As bumper sticker. Sa poste ng kuryente. At your desktop sa office. Sa mga website. Doon sa Christian bookstore. Sa bulletin board ng religion department. Sa loob ng jeep or ng bus papuntang school or work. Ito na nga ang pinaka-popular na verse from the good Book. Ito na sigurado ang pinaka-highlighted verse sa mga Bible. Ito na rin marahil ang pinaka-nakatatak sa mga utak natin. Sabi nga nila, “Kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan!?”

God loves us that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Every now and then nababasa natin yan. At lagi din nating nalilimutan ang ibig sabihin nito. Dahil lagi na lang nandiyan, sometimes we just take it lightly just like the sun surely rising in the morning.

Magaling ka. Pogi ka. Pang Miss Kalye ang beauty mo. Valedictorian ka. Employee of the minute ka. Mas mahal ka ba ni Lord? Paano na yung nasa row four? His love for us is not dependent on who we are, it is dependent on who He is.

Or if you think you are the most worst person sa mundo na parang talo mo pa ang most wanted terrorists worldwide, hindi nababawasan ang pag-ibig ni Lord sa iyo. His love for us is not dependent on your performance.

Kung sa tingin mo ngayon, waste management ang buhay mo. Nawala ang iyong mahal sa buhay. Nawala ang iyong trabaho. Nawala ang iyong friends. Huwag mong isipin nawala ang love ni Lord sa iyo. The way you look at yourself in your worst self  is not the way the Lord look at you. His love for us will stay and His love for us is not dependent on your situation.

Galit sa iyo ang misis mo. Galit sa iyo ang parents mo. Galit ang boss mo sa iyo. Galit lahat sila sa iyo, pati aso mo. Mabagal magalit si Lord. Hindi pa siya galit mauunahan na siya ng pagmamahal niya sa atin. His love for us is not dependent on the love of people for us.

Ang dami mong doubts, mas marami ang iyong worries, pinaka marami ang iyong fears. His love for us is not dependent with what you are feeling or experiencing.

Siguro nagsusulat tayo ng mga tula about love, ano? Dahil puso at mata ni God, loveable tayo.

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The Write Reason

“…It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

Ito nga! Ito ang rason bakit ako nagsusulat.

Gaya nila Peter at John. Hindi sila mapigilan. Hindi nila mapigilan. Hindi nila matantanan ang magsalita about what they have seen and heard. Hindi sila napo-possessed o nasasaniban. Nasa control pa rin sila. Yet the desire to share about God and His love for His people can not be postponed. Kaya ang nangyari everywhere they went, they proclaimed. Anytime they had the opportunity, they grab it. Give them a small space or little time, they will make use of it. Bigyan mo sila ng lahat ng oras at lugar, pupunuin nila yan, hindi sila magsasawa.

Dati kasi halos linggo-linggo, nagbibigay ako ng talk o kaya ng exhortation sa prayer meetings. Ang daming grace and wisdom na bigay sa akin ni Lord. Ang mga experiences ko with Him gives me delight and light. Nakikita ko ang kanyang mga kamay halos bawat sandali ng buhay namin. And who am I to ignore the desire to share Him. Yet after we came to the US, all those opportunities to speak about Him in meetings or retreats were gone.

At dito pumasok ang writing (blogging). God gave me a way to speak about Him. No audio needed. Walang mic sa aking kamay. I do not raise my voice. I do not use hand gestures. Walang eye to eye contact. Just my fingers plucking the keyboard plus free blog site. Jesus still gives the insights and reflections, my fingers will do the talking. Formerly, pinaka-marami na ang mga less than one hundred who will hear what will I speak. Ngayon, potentially, I can reach an infinite number of audience sa internet, and what a great gift from God!

All of these are possible because it is impossible not to write about of what I have seen and heard.  And this is the write reason.

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Lakas ng Loob

Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.  Acts 4:36-37

Ilang gabi na rin akong umuuwi na medyo nanlulumo. Sad ako. Frustrated. May expectation kasi ako na medyo nade-delay. Medyo natatagalan.  Though wala naman talagang reason for concern pero, di ko alam. Basta. Feeling ko lang, worry besets in me.

Nung isang gabi, napansin ng very thoughtful and very sensitive kong anak na si Praise na malungkot ako. Right after naming nagdasal as a family, lumapit sa akin at sabi niya, “I thought you could use a hug!” Sabay yakap sa akin. Muntik na akong mahulog sa kinauupuan ko. Muntik ng mahulog ang puso ko. I was encouraged. Nabigyan niya ako ng lakas ng loob.  Ang maliit nagpalakas ng loob sa malaki.

After one day, may natanggap akong private message sa Facebook account ko. May isang kaibigan na may sobrang lungkot.  Nagpapadasal. Hindi siya makatulog.  Nagpapa-encourage.  Kahit medyo mahina ang loob ko during that time, tinawagan ko siya to build her up, kahit voice mail pa. Sabi ko, di tayo pinababayaan at iiwanan ni Lord. Ang mahina nagpalakas ng loob sa mahina.

Si Barnabas, alias Joseph, ganoon ang ginawa. Inilagay niya ang kanyang pera sa paanan ng mga apostles.  Para sumulong ang misyon. Para makatayo ang hindi makatayo. Para makalakad ang hindi makalakad. Para bigyan ng light ang kanilang paths. Encouragement ang tawag diyan. Sino ba si Barnabas? Di naman siya kasali doon sa original na grupo nila Peter. Di naman siya talagang malaking tao. May super powers ba siya para bigyan ng lakas ng loob ang full of power of the Holy Spirit na mga apostles?

Eto ang suntok na linya – Hindi ka maliit at hindi ka mahina para mag-bigay ng lakas ng loob.  Simple lang ang mag-encourage.  Hugs.  Mga katagang: “Kaya natin yan.” “God will never fail us.” Tap sa likod. Isang phone call. Isang email.  Card mula sa post man.  Magbigay ka ng encouragement. Dahil sa ating buhay,  sa labas nanggagaling ang lakas ng loob.

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Ngalan

…as you stretch forth (your) hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus. Acts 4:30

Salamat sa inyo, Peter at John.  Thank you sa inyong prayer.  Very honest to goodness ang inyong mataimtim na dasal.

Kung iisipin, ito ang mga unang araw na di na ninyo kasama si Jesus, physically. Ito ang mga araw na kayo-kayo na lang.  Ito ang mga araw na kayo na ang nagmamaneho sa misyon ni Lord. Gustung-gusto ko yung sinabi ninyo na sa ngalan lang ni Jesus nangyayari ang lahat ng pag-galing ng maysakit, ng mga tanda at ng mga milagro. Hindi ninyo inako ang glory. Hindi ninyo sinabi na; dahil sa lakas ng dating ni Peter o dahil sa gandang lalaki ni John. Hindi ninyo itinaas ang sariling bangko kung meron man. Sa prayer ninyo, hindi ninyo binigkas ang mga pangalan ninyo bagkus ang ngalan ni Jesus. Sinabi ninyo – through the name of Jesus…

Kasi kung sa akin siguro baka iba ang nangyari…

“Bakit wala ang name ng asawa ko dyan?!” ito ang tanong ng aking butihing misis ng mabasa niya ang isang commemorative book ng isang community kung saan kami ay nag-serve for several years.  Doon sa libro na yun, may paragraph kung saan inilahad yung kuwento ng grupo sa aming lungsod, kung paano nagsimula at lumago ang mission.  Eh dahil nga misis ko siya, sabi niya dapat daw ang name ko nasali doon sa isinulat  dahil daw may significant contribution ako kahit papaano.  Noong una, sabi ko may punto ang asawa ko. Marami rin naman akong nagawa. Marami rin naman akong naibigay. Marami rin naman akong napasaya.  Ngunit minsan inulit kong basahin ang libro ni Max Lucado na, “It’s Not About Me “. At doon binigyan ako ni Lord ng realization. Ibinalik niya ako sa purpose ng misyon ko, at iyon ay malaman, maalala at maitaas ang pangalan ni Jesus at hindi ang name ko. Hindi na baleng makalimutan ako, huwag lang si Lord. Hindi na baleng wala ako sa billing, huwag lang ang name ni Jesus. Dahil yun naman talaga ang importante.  Yung itaas ang ngalan niya at ibaba ang iyong sarili.

Korek ang dasal nila Peter at John.  It’s not through Peter’s name or John’s name. Hindi rin lumago at lumaganap ang mission sa ngalan ni Edwin Cano. Ang lahat ng healing, signs and wonders ay possible lamang sa pamamagitan ng ngalan ni Jesus.

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